Disc Brake Discourse

A forum for discussing issues relating to trailers and towing MacGregor sailboats.

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Jack O'Brien
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Posts: 564
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 9:28 pm
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida, 2000X, Gostosa III

Disc Brake Discourse

Post by Jack O'Brien » Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:01 pm

Just a couple days before we were due to trailer down to join the Miami Macs for a 5-day cruise of the Keys the Admiral said: "That trailer is clunking more than it used to." So I checked the original Titan cast iron master cylinder and found it essentially empty, except for the rusty water sludge. "Aw, SHUCKS" said I, or something similar.

Removed, cleaned, reinstalled and filled the master cylinder. Discovered the brass bleed bolts in the Tiedown Engineering aluminum calipers were frozen. Disconnected the line from one caliper and connected my new, manual, vacuum pump one-person bleed system to the line. (The exact vacuum pump is $13 less at Harbor Freight than Pep Boys.) Started pulling vacuum and occasionally actuating the master cylinder. Kept sucking mostly air out of the line. "Aw, SHUCKS" I said, or something similar.

Figured a line or connection was leaking. Found the line connections all rusty, frozen and impossible to turn without disintegration. "Aw, SHUCKS" I heard myself saying again. Found a complete, new all-hose line set at the second local trailer shop for only $84.27 with tax. "Whew, that was lucky" I said. Installed the line, by crawling on my back on the sand under the trailer/boat using nylon ties, with chunks of rusty trailer falling in my eyes.

Still had to free the frozen bleed bolts so had to remove calipers. That meant jacking up trailer with the car's hard-to-use-under-a-trailer scissor jack, blocking up trailer with pieces of wood on the sand, removing tire/wheel, removing grease cap and outer bearing, removing hub/rotor/caliper. That was the port side. Repeated process on starboard side except left that side of trailer up on the jack. Went inside to take a leak. While I was gone the strong wind pushed the boat/trailer to the side, off the blocks and jack and down into the sand. "Aw, SHUCKS" I may have said.

Despite six-point socket, vice-grip pliers, propane torch, etc., of the four bleed bolts, one snapped off, one became round, two got freed by a real mechanic with a real torch and an "outside easy-out" and replaced. "Whew, that was lucky" I said.

Reinstalled the calipers BUT, on the starboard side I didn't reinstall the rotor before bleeding the port side. OOPS! Guess I popped the seals on that one when I pumped the master cylinder. Oh, well, night has fallen and we don't have to leave until 10 am so I can get the seals replaced at any brake shop first thing in the morning and no sweat. Ho. Ho. Ho.

Several brake and trailer shops awakened me to the fact nobody ever replaces seals - the whole caliper needs replacing and "No, we don't stock those." Found a trailer shop on the phone who said he had one. He was mistaken but he did have a slightly used one I got for half price of only $45.05 with tax. "Whew, that was lucky"

Bought a pair of 3-ton jack stands and a 2-ton hydraulic bottle jack $26.48 with tax. Put it all together, bled well and left for Miami at 1 pm.

The bad news is, I plan to replace this Mac trailer within a month and hated to spend a penny on it.

The good news is, we had a really wonderful cruise in the Keys with 7 other boats, good people, perfect weather for sailing and had fun. "Aw, shucks, that was lucky" 8)

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